The difference between 2PAC and laminate
You may have heard the term 2PAC discussed when talking about finishes for cabinet doors in kitchens, bathrooms and other custom cabinetry within the home.
We often have people query exactly what it is and its distinctions between other finishes in the market.
What is 2PAC?
The short and not so technical answer - 2PAC is a hardened paint finish that can be applied to cupboard doors and drawers.
Slightly more in-depth, a 2PAC finish begins as two liquids; one is a resin made up of acrylic paint and melamine and the other contains a hardener called Poly-isocyanate Resin. When these two liquids are mixed together a chemical reaction occurs causing the mix to harden. Due to there only being a small amount of solvent used in the mix, hardly any evaporates when applied, which results in a thick, smooth, hard finish.
2PAC dries slowly so it must be applied in a dust-free, temperature-controlled booth, by a someone who has a high level of expertise.
2PAC vs laminate finish
Laminate is a synthetic product that comprises of compressed and plasticised sheets of paper. The top layers are coated in resins and dyes to create the colour and texture you see on the surface. Laminate is glued onto the surface of MDF board and an edging tape is applied. It comes in a huge range of brands, colours and finishes including woodgrains and patterns. Laminate is also an exceptionally hard-wearing product and a great option for your new kitchen.
2PAC is essentially a painted finish, which allows you the freedom to select any paint colour you wish. You can therefore colour match paints on nearby walls, feature cladding or other items in within the home.
2PAC is also available in a range of finishes giving you the ability to choose your preferred level of shine:
- 30% is satin
- 60% is semi-gloss
- 100% is gloss
Unlike 2PAC, laminate is glued onto the surface of MDF board and the exposed edges are finished with an edging tape. 2PAC starts as a liquid so it can be applied to any style or profile of door (particularly useful for Hampton's style kitchens). During the application process, the entire front of the door or drawer is sprayed, allowing for a seamless finish without the joins or edges created by laminate.
While both Laminate and 2PAC are durable products, if hit hard enough both can chip and become damaged. Minor chips to 2PAC can be touched up with paint provided by the applicator and is worth keeping on hand to repair yourself. If the damage is major, the entire door or element can be resprayed again to match the adjoining cabinets.
A high gloss application of either product makes the surface more susceptible to finger marks and scratches than a satin, matt or textured finish.
How much does 2PAC cost?
As the 2PAC process requires a high level of expertise, spray booth and equipment, it is one of the more expensive cabinetry finishes on the market, roughly 40% more than a laminate finish. It's important to note that each laminate manufacturer has its own pricing structure, with different price categories within their collections. This means that different laminate finishes do cost more than the standard smooth laminate finish.
The best way of finding out the cost of 2PAC versus laminate kitchen cabinets is to get quotes from local kitchen cabinetmakers, to give you an indication of what market rates currently are.